I am very fond of my friend Mary’s two children and when I saw her son Tony’s name highlighted on my facebook site, I sent a “be my friend” message. A short while later, I was pleased to receive a Facebook alert from the child and clicked on the link.

“I don’t really friend adults,” read the message. My first reaction was “how cute,” and forwarded the email to Mary. As I was writing the message, I realized that this wasn’t cute. It was the direct result of parental protection. “You can be on Facebook with these conditions and the first one is: NEVER accept Friend invitations from adults.” I complimented Mary on a strategy that was obviously working.

Tony used the word “friend” as a verb! My thoughts immediately raced back to Miss Osland in honors English my first year in college.  Miss Osland might have stroked out at such a desecration of her English.

I don’t friend adults. As usual, I went straight to google and typed in “’friend’ as a verb, expecting little or nothing. 5,040,000 hits! 

The first question in my mind is, “How does the world change that fast?” But, we all know the answer to that question. The speed of technology long ago surpassed the speed of light or whatever the fastest thing we know is. The real question is how are we keeping up? Or more important when we can’t keep up, how do we find our place in this new world, which is both unbelievably exciting and as unbelievably terrifying?

John Junson is a great cartoonist and colleague. In a recent cartoon* he shows a character talking about being asked to learn ipod, iphone and other “I words” in one day. In the next frame, the character says, “I-OLD.” My friend could have added: “I-OUTOFIT”—sometimes a much scarier scenario.

I wish I had answers for my questions. I don’t.  But I know how I am a surviving—and thriving—in my retirement years. First, I started an entirely new career doing only what I want to do, love to do and am good at. Second, I spend every free minute exploring, learning and testing new ideas. Yes, it will help my brain develop new cells that will help keep me from senile dementia. But, more than that, it’s adding excitement, novelty, energy and enthusiasm to my life—in a way I don’t recall ever experiencing. Of course, that could be the dementia trying to grab a foothold. I don’t think so. I have discovered a way of life that is redefining life—and aging–for me. I just wish I had found it sooner!